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Surfrider WA 2021 Legislative Priorities

Below is a list of our current legislative campaigns. We will keep this page updated with the most current information on where our bills stand and ways you can support them!

Updated May 17th:

Actions you can take now:

  • Call up your reps and tell them THANK YOU for supporting clean, healthy coasts!
  • Celebrate the passage of both our priority bills here at Surfrider Washington!

With the Washington Legislature kicking off its 2021 session on January 11th, it's a good time to highlight a few of the priority issues that the Washington Surfrider Chapters will be focused on this year. As a refresher, since this is an odd-numbered year, the session will last 105 days (even numbered years are 60 days long). Due to public health concerns with COVID-19, the capitol campus is closed to the public and all committee hearings are taking place remotely and available for streaming on TVW. While the remote session creates a unique set of challenges for how things normally operate, it also offers some great opportunities for easier access to participate remotely. A good place to start is to find your legislators, and sign up to receive their email updates.

Olympia Chapter leader Christine Rayburn, WA Policy Manager Gus Gates, and South Sound Chapter leader Ranell Nystrom on the Capitol steps in 2020 advocating for reducing plastic pollution.

SB 5022 - Recycling, Waste, & Litter

UPDATE: SB5022 Passed out of the Senate! Huge shout out to our partners in all their work to get our bill through the first hurdle. On to the House!

UPDATE: SB5022 made it out of the House Environment & Energy Committee and has been passed to the Appropriations Committee, where it will be heard by the end of the week.

UPDATE: SB5022 made it out of the all the Committees and will likely be heard on the House floor this week!

UPDATE: SUCCESS! Thanks to all the relentless, collective efforts of volunteers, the public, our partners, and legislative leaders, SB5022 was voted out of the House, 73-24! Inslee signed the bill into law on Monday, May 17th!

Check out some press briefings on the bill's passage:

Reducing Plastic Pollution - Building off our success in 2020 by passing a ban on single use plastic carry out bags, WA Chapter leaders are fired up to continue our efforts to combat the plague of plastics with more comprehensive policies that will address some of the most commonly found items during our beach cleanups. This year, Washington Senate Bill 5022, championed by Senator Mona Das, is taking on single-use plastics, which wreak havoc on our ocean, waves, and beaches.

The bill will:

  1. Ban the sale or distribution of expanded polystyrene coolers, packing peanuts, and food service products like clamshell containers, plates, and cups, beginning June 1, 2023. Exceptions are made for the safe packing of medical drugs and devices as well as for meat or fish trays, egg cartons, and packaging for raw food products requiring refrigeration.
  2. Require that food businesses only provide single-use utensils, straws, beverage cup lids, and condiment packaging upon customer request. Exemptions are made for cup lids on hot beverages, delivery or curbside pickup, and drive-throughs.
  3. Establish recycled content provisions requiring that plastic bottles manufactured or sold in Washington be made of no less than 25% post-consumer recycled plastic by 2026 and ramping up to 50% post-consumer recycled plastic by 2031.
    **UPDATE: Provision will now require a minimum post-consumer recycled content for bottles, plastic trash bags, and plastic bottles and jugs containing household cleaning and personal care products. It would also remove the chasing arrows requirement.

Download the One Pager on SB 5022 for more info:

Image credit Pew Charitable Trusts.

SB 5145 - Banning Seabed Mining in Washington State Waters

UPDATE: SB 5145 also passed out of the Senate with a remarkable 49-0 unanimous vote! Next stop: the House

UPDATE: SB 5145 is now in the Rules Committee and should make it to the House floor next week.

UPDATE: SB 5145 passed the House, 96-2!! Governor Inslee signed the bill into law on May 3rd. Huge thanks to everyone for making calls and testifying, to our partners, and to our legislators - together, we've kept a damaging extractive industry out of Washington's state waters.

Seabed mining is on the rise in other parts of the world and could soon put commercial and recreational fisheries, marine wildlife, and coastal communities and cultures at risk. Fortunately, on January 12th, Washington State Senators Kevin Van de Wege and Christine Rolfes introduced SB 5145, which would prohibit leases for seabed mining for hard minerals in state waters. More background on the threat of seabed mining can be found here.

Download the One Pager on SB 5145 for more info:

Washington Chapter Leaders participating in the 2020 Environmental Priorities Coalition Enviro Lobby Day in Olympia.

About That Plastic Bag Ban Going into Effect....

On Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a 30-day proclamation to postpone Washington’s statewide plastic bag ban as written in RCW 70a.530. During the 30-day delay, the State legislature is expected to pass a formal amendment to the law so that it becomes effective June 30, 2021. This is expected to give manufacturers and distributors of compliant bags time to catch up to increased demand. Additional delay proclamations may be required. More info here, and in the meantime, we encourage consumers to bring your own clean bags with you when shopping.

Supporting the Washington Environmental Priorities

The Environmental Priorities Coalition is made up of more than 20 statewide organizations (of which the Surfrider Foundation is a proud member) working to safeguard our environment and the health of our communities in the legislature. For the 2021 legislative session, we have adopted three priorities essential for healthy communities and a thriving environment

For one-pagers and a recording of our press briefing (January 5th, 2021) regarding the 2021 virtual legislative session, please see our press kit. The tool for tracking the bills during this session is available here: EPC’s 2021 Bill Tracker.

This year you can participate online for Environmental Lobby Days, February 8-10, 2021! Team up with other activists from your district to speak up for environmental health and justice and gain the skills to be a persuasive constituent. You’ll have the opportunity to attend online issue briefings, learn how to lobby, hear from environmental champions, and meet virtually with your elected officials to advance the Environmental Priorities Coalition’s 2021 priorities. Register Here!